Category Archives: TOP 50 REVIEWER

Robin Lee, Niece Like “My Life as a Cicada” and Give it a 5-Star

Robin Lee, who wears Amazon’s coveted “TOP 500 REVIEWER” badge, has read “My Life as a Cicada” together with her niece and given it a professional review. She’s given the book a 5-star rating. You can see her review here:



The following is the review Robin has posted on Amazon, verbatim:

I downloaded this book to read with my niece…School is over but this has been a topic the teachers have been talking to the students about in her class the last few weeks….This story about the “Cicada Bug” and it’s life cycle is adorable..It’s the easiest way to explain to little ones about these very large and loud bugs with big red eyes that they may be scared of…Especially, when they start hearing the shrilling sounds, or finding one lying on the ground…Beautiful, bright colored, large illustrations showed up really nice on her kindle….Plus the story rhymes, which are her favorite type of books and make her giggle….

The story starts out with a baby nymph, crying underground knowing she is now 17 yrs old and wishing she could be a beautiful butterfly instead….She knows once she changes she will be ugly and scary looking to people…This will show how cute they really look and how harmless they really are…The “Cicadas” tell children they more scared themselves because of natural predators like termites and birds….

This sweet book will show you that a “picture is worth a thousand words…..My niece loved it…..I highly recommend this book for all children…..


How Hard Is It to Sell a Short Story Collection In U.S.

So how hard is it to sell a short story collection in U.S.? Pretty damn hard, I will tell you that.

It’s a catch 22. No publisher will do your collection, unless you are super well-established. But if you are well-established, you probably won’t have time to write short stories. You’d be going for the kills — big 300-plus page novels and series of novels.

What about self-publishing? Well, the publishing part is super easy; especially when you have your short stories previously all published in magazines. That’s what I did with eight of my short stories that have been previously published in various magazines and of which the rights have reverted to me.

But the selling is hard. Bottom line is: very few people in this country read short stories for entertainment. When is that last time you spotted a trade paperback version of a short story collection in the racks of Walgreens?

To add insult to injury, most book promoters out there openly discriminate against the short form. BookBub, one of the tricksters that promote indie books available in Kindle store, openly rejects anything short of 50K words. It’s the portion of the meal that matters, not the meal itself.

By this Draconian “Size does matter” rule, BookBub would not even consider promoting Books like “Catcher in the Rye,” which has a word count barely at the 50K mark, let alone “The Postman Always Rings Twice,” of which the word count falls in between 20K to 30K.

So if Anton Chehkov or Guy de Maupassant were still alive today, they probably can’t sell their short stories either. They would be forced to write novels. Since they are not good with the long forms, they would just starve.

Or they could do it like me: self-publish their works. They could also be as lucky as me, and have some Amazon Top Ranking Reviewers look at the works and give them due credit.

Today, J. Chambers, who wears a “AMAZON TOP 50 REVIEWER” badge as well as a “REAL NAME” badge, gave my short story collection “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair” a 4-star! J (short for Jim) also wrote a heart-warming review, which I consider not only an encouragement for me alone, but all writers who are fond of the short form. The title of his review says: “The art of the short story is still alive!”

You can find his review here:

Simply put, people, it’s not the size of the burger that matter, it’s what the chef puts in it. The small ones could have truffles and Kobe’s in them; while the giant ones tend to be made from frozen patties, government cheese and industrially ripened tomatoes.

When a good story is presented in the short form, the author is respecting the readers’ intelligence. He or she has left the obvious unsaid. When the same concept is stretched, battered and deep fried and then coated with powder sugar and served with sides of mashed and Cajun fries, the author is underestimating the readers’ intelligence.



“If You’re in the Mood for a Bit of Literary Fiction to Read with a Glass of Nice Wine”

“Little Tales that Sizzle in the Mind.” — Grady Harp, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

“A truly beautiful piece of short fiction…This collect is well worth picking up if you’re in the mood for a bit of literary fiction to read with a glass of nice wine.” — Alain Gomez, Book Brouhaha

“My fave of this bunch was Bitter Tea and Braided Hair. Short and very much to-the-point. A vignette of a terrible reality. Most affecting.” — Graeme Dunlop, PseudoPod

Are you a globe-trotter?
Are you inquisitive and sensitive to foreign cultures?
Are you an Aisn American?
Are you an ABC (American born Chinese)?
Do you like mainstream literary fiction with some fantastical twist?
Or, simply, do you like short stories?

If you can answer yes to any of the above, chances are that you will find something in my short fiction “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair” that can truly delight you.

Grady Harp, an Amazon Top 50 Reviewer and Hall of Fame Reviewer calls the book “Little Tales that Sizzle in the Mind”, Alain Gomez from Book Brouhaha says, “This collect is well worth picking up if you’re in the mood for a bit of literary fiction to read with a glass of nice wine.” She’s particularly fond of “My Mother’s Shadow” and calls it “a truly beautiful piece of short fiction.”

After reading the above short introduction, if you feel like reading the book, I’m sure we have something in common. And I want the voice of people like us to be heard.

How? You may ask. My answer? — by posting your optinions about this book on Amazon. Currently, the book is on a 99¢ special. But it is OK if you do not want to spend the 99¢ or cannot afford to spend the 99¢, just send me your PayPal email to my email at “” (without the quote) at gmail dot com. Or you can find a way to direct message me your PayPal email via Facebook or Twitter.

You’ll enjoy it, you have my word.

M. Eigh

Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Reviewer, Gives “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair” a 5-Star

“Little Tales that Sizzle in the Min.” — Grady Harp, Amazon 38th Ranking Top Reviewer, on Bitter Tea and Braided Hair

On June 9, 2013, Grady Harp, an Amazon top ranking reviewer who wears many badges of honor including TOP 50 REVIEWER, VINE™ VOICE, HALL OF FAME REVIEWER and REAL NAME™, posted a review on Amazon for my short fiction collection, “Bitter Tea and Braided Hair.” The review can be found here:

Here’s what Grady said about the book, quoted verbatim as follows:

BITTER TEAR AND BRAIDED HAIR is a collection of short stories that serves to introduce many of us to a writer a=of significant gifts. He is able in a very brief time to gain our empathy for his characters, such as the half Chinese half Tibetan young man of the title story who falls in love with a Tibetan girl and just as quickly loses everything. In MY MOTHER’S SHADOW our main character is a first grade child who notices he has no shadow, discovers that this is a curse from God, and walks with his mother who has a shadow to the prison where his also shadowless father is held: his mother and the boy bear the spite of the town when it seems to everyone that each time they visit the prison and bring home an `uncle’ (a doomed shadowless man) causing the rumor that his mother is a prostitute.

Or take the case of OSCAR’S EXTRAORDINARY LIFE, PLANNED we meet an in utero fetus that can hear and think about everything that is happening outside his mother womb – even the sexual liaisons she has which put a question as to the fetus’ origin! In DEAR TERESA a young lad in the year 1979 attends school but also listens to his shortwave radio for English 900 and learns of a radio personality Sister Teresa, becomes a fan, communicates with her Letter to Teresa project, and makes portraits of her – only to find that his gift for pictures creates dissension among his friends. THE MANCHURIAN EXPRESS is a comical story that has at its core the dissolution of the Mao-style communism of China, but the style of A EULOGY FOR EDWIN BOGARDUS tops even that as we learn about the life of a man who died from an overdoes effect of Viagra!

In all, this is a fine group of imaginative fiction that spreads across the world from China to the US. The only thing we discover about the author M. Eigh who attended China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, is a highly published Chinese poet, and is a man with considerable talent. His next move should be a novella and then a novel to see if his imagination can sustain through a book long story. It would also be interesting to read translations of his poetry. But a helpful hint to this writer: secure the guidance of a good editor to extract the spelling and grammar errors next time round, because you are just too fine to let skips get into your work! Grady Harp, June 13.